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B'ville Theatre Guild presents courtroom drama this fall

The Baldwinsville Theatre Guild will present Agatha Christie's courtroom drama, "Witness for the Prosecution" beginning Oct. 22.

"Witness for the Prosecution" is a 1957 American courtroom drama movie based on a short story and later a play by Agatha Christie. The original movie deals with a man accused of murder and starred Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton and his wife, Elsa Lanchester.

Wilfred Robarts, a master defense attorney, accepts the case of Leonard Vole who is accused of murdering Ms. Emily French, a rich, older woman who became infatuated with the younger man. Circumstantial evidence points to Vole as the killer. His German wife, Romaine, is his only alibi and Robarts finds her cold and self-possessed.

At trial, Vole's alibi falls apart when Romaine changes her story on the stand. The prosecutor and Robarts parry and thrust their way through the convoluted trial. Plot twists abound as new evidence surfaces in the third act. And then the plot thickens . . . but the Guild will adhere to the final message the movie gave back in 1957: "The management of this theater suggests that for the greater entertainment of your friends who have not yet seen the picture, you will not divulge to anyone the secret of the ending to 'Witness for the Prosecution.'"

The play was first performed in Nottingham, England in 1953, in London on Oct. 28, 1953 and opened on Broadway on Dec. 16, 1954. The Guild will set this drama in Tarrytown, New York in the fall of 1985. The characters and language will be "American" and each show will have a guest jury foreman.

The ensemble piece stars Jon Barden as the irascible Wilfrid Robarts, Jordan Glaski as the defendant Leonard Vole and Rachel Grage as his German wife, Romaine. The production will also include a different local celebrity/official playing a cameo role as a jury foreperson each night. The play is produced by Pat Bridenbaker and directed by John LaCasse.

The show will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (Oct. 22, 23, 29, 30, Nov. 5 and 6) and at 3 p.m. Sunday Nov. 7 at the First Presbyterian Education Center, 64 Oswego Road in Baldwinsville. Tickets are available by calling the Guild's Box Office at 877-4183.

The Baldwinsville Theatre Guild is celebrating its 68th year of continuous, quality theater. For more information, visit baldwinsvilletheatreguild.org.

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